Good Customer Support DOES exist

  Chris the Ancient 19:40 26 Nov 2004

OK, I'm a teensy weensy little bit away from pure computers, but there is a connection (albeit usb) with my computer...

I have a Road Angel (a gps-based system with some accurate road information in it - see click here ) for my car - but because of my job, it isn't always plugged in or left in the car. And the internal battery goes a little on the flat side.

The battery can be charged at home with a usb connection - the same connection that is used for regular updating. Of late, when I plugged it into the usb, it took a little while for the unit to 'kick in'; so I e-mailed their support department.

What an eye-opener. I got a reply within a couple of hours (although they said to allow a complete working day) and we started quite a dialogue of working out a cure.

The bottom line seemed to be that there was not quite sufficient power on a front panel usb port - and this was confirmed by temporarily 'borrowing' my printer's connection. I explained to the support people that the rear usb ports could provide enough power, but I didn't have a spare one. I implied that, as far as I was concerned, the problem was purely mine and that when I needed to update, I would 'borrow' the printer connection again and accept that when the unit was put back in the car that it would take a little longer to acquire enough satellite data to become operational.

Support, bless them, were not happy that I was having to do things like that and sent me - completely and utterly free of any charge - a small 13A plug power supply to have 12V on the Angel all the time it was on my desk! Thus keeping the internal Ni-Cad topped up.

And all this was done in less than three days with me only being able to check on emails intermittently during the working day.

Now *that's* what I call customer service! And a very happy customer.

Oh, that more companies were that good.


  BIG Ben strikes 10 again! 09:51 27 Nov 2004

its good to know there is good service out there as there arn't many,i am still awaiting a reply from 1and1 and which it has been a week.i have used ebay before and when i had bought windows 95 on floppies they didn't work,i e-mailed the seller replied saying "ill send another" without question,meaning i could have faked they were "dud" and gotten an extra supply!.lol.of corse i would never do this,but still,

  Sir Radfordin 10:31 27 Nov 2004

I think it all comes down to the culture of the organisation. Some take the approach that they find a solution to the problem regardless of what is involved others decide to do the bare minimum.

In nearly all cases however you will find a price premium (albeit only slight in some cases) charge by companies with good customer service.

As consumers we are fairly lazy in that once we have found someone 'good' we stick with them and even allow for the occasional mistake. Take banks for example. Yours no doubt does what you want so despite being able to get a 'better' banking service elsewhere you stick with the current one because of the perceived hassle of change.

A cynic would say that the product you bought was so over priced they could afford to send this adaptor to you without the bean counters noticing :)

  spuds 12:27 27 Nov 2004

When you deal with companies and helpfull, knowledgable support staff it warms the cockles of your heart, but it is the other side of the fence that is only too frequent nowadays, and you generally find that the bigger the company the worse it can get. I have been dealing with a large local council regarding a very minor problem, talk about chasing your own tail and going around in circles.

  Chris the Ancient 13:36 27 Nov 2004

You hit the nail right on the head. Some people are willing to pay a little extra - and I think I must be one of them. And that's how I registered my vote in the survey a while back.

Road Angel does fall more into the category of 'luxury' (or toys for the boys) class; but when I think of hassles I've had with washing machine repair people, returning faulty goods to a certain well known company that gets a few (???) negative comments in these hallowed halls, I'm glad I paid a little extra.

At my age, I don't quite do my crust as often as I did in the old days - it's not good for the old blood pressure - but I do not allow people to take me as a fool when it comes to poor customer service. I used to do a little customer service training in my past; and it appals me what some people get away with! A slight loading on the price can, therefore, be beneficial to the health of both parties.

The power supply was not, of course, really free. It comes into the overall running costs and overheads of the company. And I pay for that in the original purchase price. At least I got my share, though!

But look what good customer service can do. It made me point out the name of the company to a wide audience!


Equally, I'm on your side. Large and impersonal bodies can be so frustrating when you don't know who to get in touch with. (Be they a council or computer parts/accessories supplier with a poor returned goods attitude.) You do have to just stick to your guns and - after a while - hope that they'll give in just to shut you up.

  Dorsai 19:33 27 Nov 2004

They stuck by their word.

They said it could be charged up on a USB port. In your case, it could not be.

So they solved the problem, with the mains adaptor.

No hassel involved. As it should be.

And if you paid extra for this level of service, it sounds like it was worth paying for.

  Chris the Ancient 20:41 27 Nov 2004

Interesting. I double-checked and there doesn't seem to be reference to it being able to be charged at the usb port - only that it can be updated! And (with a little bit of time to settle down which I put down to the battery being low) it updates just as it should. Most people leave theirs in the car where it's on constant charge (unlike me).

Anyway, I got excellent service - and who could ask more?


  Dorsai 09:09 28 Nov 2004

I just looked at my mobile phone charger, and it is 335mA..A usb port can supply up to 500mA, which should be enough to recharge it.

But If it's not designed to recharge this way, even though you initially thought it was, that is *even better* customer service. you got it fixed, when it was not even broke.

Perhaps they took your point, about it not being in the car all the time, as a fair point to make, if it's not in the car all the time, how to charge it up?

  Spanglish 15:31 29 Nov 2004

Hopefully the people who leave their Road Angel ( or any other decent gadget/equipment ) in the vehicle HIDE THEM from sight -Please-.Ta

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